The year 2020 brought a lot of challenges. A global pandemic, a presidential election, a new way of going to school and so much more. And while this year has been unforgettable, we cannot do anything but look to the future.
The Artisan has gathered a group of students, each from a different arts area, to write a letter to the year 2021. We asked students to share hopes, plans and positivity about heading into the new year.
Some express interests and hobbies, some talk about their arts areas. All letters are well-crafted pieces of what a student living in 2020 is like.
At long last, you’ve arrived. Just a year ago, many looked toward the future with high hopes—for them, a new decade meant new opportunities. When 2020 set foot on our doorsteps, how could we have known what dangers lay ahead? It was a year painted with sorrow and grief. Life adapted, however, and the human race found ways to overcome these newfound obstacles. Creativity flowed where it never had previously, which meant working toward solutions. Time was abundant, and with this time came self-exploration. Across the globe, people picked up hobbies, started projects, and produced art. And that, 2021, is where you come in. The world is holding its breath, waiting to get to know you. In 2021, I hope to see once again the beautiful smiles that surround me. Though we have adapted to understand emotion through only eyes (and are certainly much better at making eye contact in general), there is something very wholesome about watching a friend genuinely smile. In 2021, I hope to once again sit in large audiences where my films are projected for all to see. For many people, especially performance artists, the onslaught of the pandemic shut off their creative outlet. The complete resumption of performances would allow for the application of the insight gained during this time of deep reflection. In 2021, I hope things do not return to normal, as this would mean denial of the innovation, growth and suffering that occurred throughout the previous year. Instead, I hope that 2021 brings about a new normal, one that emphasizes the appreciation of social interactions and the efficiency of technology. Though many have their own ideas about you, 2021, I sincerely hope you allow us to travel, to spend time with loved ones, and to hug our friends again. You are within reach, and I believe that you will bring joy and solace to the hearts of many.
11th grade, Cinematic Arts
I’m one of those seven-point-eight-billion somebodies whos gonna experience all three-hundred-sixty-five days of you starting January 1. I know the last year has been rough to put it lightly. I’m holding out hope that “New Year, New You” applies to you as well. Those of us writing to you have been requested to transcribe our hopes and dreams, priorities and expectations for you that, in all honesty, your predecessor failed to accommodate us with. You are the future, and with the future comes an unknown; endless possibilities for us to write ourselves into new creations and set a correction course for ourselves and others. Writing this letter, I had a difficulty separating “hope” and “goal” from one another so I did what any person with access to a computer would: I looked it up. When I looked up “Goals,” quite a few soccer and football goals appeared right away. After a bit of digging (scrolling down for a second) I found the definition: “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” When “hope” is searched, its much more straightforward. Definition pops up immediately: “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.”
I suppose that answered my question. A hope is public; an expectation held by one, with the belief many share their vision. We know our hopes, and many share them. When one hope isn’t upheld, we all feel the hit. A goal is private; a personal standard we hold ourselves to with no one to hold us accountable when we don’t live up to it. We seem to have caught wind of the common hopes this year, and the immediate future, as far as I see, is looking up for us. This is your call to action 2021. You know our hopes: the awakening of our social awareness to others’ suffering, and the ability to act on these insights intelligently and swiftly. Help us help you help us.
As for goals? Those personal checkpoints and check-ins which mark our progress through life? For me, at this current moment in time, the most visible goal for me is the idea of college. You’re gonna mark the next big chapter of my life: freshman year in another state. While I don’t know where I’m going specifically, I have my sights set on the west coast. That’s the big goal: lights of Los Angeles, shining back at me as I grind away the night hours preparing for that one big test or event.
Well, thats ‘bout it. I have hope for you, 2021. Can’t wait to meet you.
12th grade, Performance Theatre
It’s bittersweet that a year only ever happens once. Once it passes, it’s erased for good, balled up and tossed away like scrap paper. On the flip-side, though, it’s sweet in that the next year becomes like a chase, an adrenaline rush to make the new year better than the last. I feel like I’ve tasted both sides, and 2020 was definitely my scrap paper year. Everything you would not want to happen during your senior year has happened. It’s almost like a game of Monopoly and that one player who has like twenty hotels and owns every railroad just dumps every rent fee on you in the most brutal way possible. In other words, I’m bankrupt and out of the game. As great as it would have been to walk around mask-free, be with all of my family, and attend school in one place this year, I can’t entirely scrap it. “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger,” or whatever Kelly Clarkson said, I guess. You can never really test the limits of your mental toughness without experiencing some deal of struggle and this year was a couple years’ worth of struggle. A global pandemic? Wildfires? Murders? A nasty presidential election? It doesn’t even sound real coming out! Hopefully, when I cross over, we can sit back and laugh this whole thing off together. I, like many other people, don’t want to get my hopes up about you being better than 2020 either. I mean, just because the year ends doesn’t mean the struggle stops. I guess we’ll just have to have faith, right? Being a realist can only work for so long until something like this happens and at some point, you’ve just got to find something, anything, to hold onto to get you through. I think more than any other time in my life, I’ve tried to find the silver lining of things. My mom always used to tell me that and I was never hearing it, but nowadays the positive, corny “Mom-sayings” have become my mantras. When I’m driving, I’m always on the hunt for a rainbow or a sunset. When I wake up, I smile thinking of all the friends I get to see. When I’m painting or doing work, I’ll usually call or FaceTime someone to share their company (which, as an introvert, is challenging). Going out is another thing I used to not really do, but now I find any excuse to take a break and spend a night on the town. So again, I know this past year brought some hardships, but look at all the things I was gifted with in return: stronger friendships, a sense of spontaneity, optimism, humility, patience and discipline. I can’t wait to bring these gifts to you, to make something new and beautiful, and chase a year better than the last (which shouldn’t be too difficult). You only come once, so let’s make the most of it.
12th grade, Visual Art
I hope this year is full of many new and strengthening experiences. 2020 has changed my life so much and I hope this upcoming year I can continue to adapt to my circumstances and live somewhat normally. Every year I am excited for a fresh start and to set new goals for myself.
This year I am aiming to think more positively and be more decisive. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed I can start thinking about all the things that go wrong, but I hope that in 2021 I can change my mindset and have a more optimistic view of my current situation. I also hope to be more decisive this year, because it usually takes me a long time to make decisions. I hope that in 2021 I can know what I want and strive to get it instead of wondering where I should go. These are two overarching goals for 2021 that I hope to work on every day. In school this upcoming year I hope that we can have dance concerts so that we can have the opportunity to perform. I am excited to be back on the stage and back performing with Dance Theatre here at DA. I know that things won’t go back to the way they were last year but I am hopeful to see how we continue to evolve in 2021, and it’s hard to imagine where we will be in another year.
My desire for the United States as a whole in 2021 is to see more unity. There have been many tensions in our nation and I hope to see a coming together and mutual understanding of each other’s circumstances. In 2021 my desire for Douglas Anderson is that we can continue to grow in each of our arts areas even though we have new restrictions. I hope that we continue to strengthen our gifts while staying safe and healthy, and that we will be strengthened through our hard work and persistence. Everybody knows that 2020 was a struggle but the new year is a new opportunity and I hope that there will be a new peace in the atmosphere and reconciliation over all broken circumstances. Looking forward I am eager to feel change in the air and I hope that 2021 is a year of breakthrough, across the nation. It is difficult to remember what life was like in December of 2019 but I am looking forward to the new beginning of 2021.
11th grade, Dance
Well, if I am going to be completely honest, 2020 has sucked. Nothing has gone the way anybody has planned, and the world is living in a constant state of fear and captivity. So 2021, what do I ask from you? I ask you to simply be better than 2020. I hope that we find a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. I hope the world becomes a place where fair and equal are one in the same. I hope the world takes their mistakes in 2020 and learns from them in 2021. But as for me, I hope to find happiness. And not just moments of happiness where you smile and laugh occasionally, but true happiness. A happiness that is constant and consistent. A happiness that is not as rare as people say but something as unique as my own individual self. A happiness you can only find within yourself. I want to live my best life with no regrets and no apprehensions. I want to take risks and be bold because not everybody was fortunate enough to survive 2020. So I must live the life I have, make the best of it and make it into something great and grand. 2021 is the year where I, Samantha Nelson, move forward in my life. Set some new goals and be the best version of myself that I can be. Because if there is anything, I have learned from this year is that you never know when your life could come to a halting stop or an inconclusive end. We never know when the tides will change and where the winds will blow. All we can do is truly live in the now. And living in the now is how I intend to achieve my happiness. I am not going to stress over things I cannot control. I am not going to compare myself to others. And most importantly, I am not going to let my mental health fall to a place that will set me further back then I want to go. I want to give the world the everything I have to offer and give it to me back in return. I will be fearless and dive headfirst into the New Year and I am ready for whatever challenges lie ahead. So 2021, bring it on, because I am beyond ready!
10th grade, Musical Theatre
Hey, Future Me! It’s been an entire year with COVID-19 being around. A lot of crazy stuff has happened because of it. Is it still around as much as it is now? I hope not. I hope that COVID dies down soon. Kudos to us for not catching it! How’s our family in the new year? Have you made any new friends, joined any clubs? I hope you did. This school year has been crazy! Do you think it’ll be like this next year and the year after that? I’ve met so many wonderful people this year. It took me awhile to open up, but I eventually did. I hope you don’t have as much trouble next year.
There’ve been lots of ups and downs, but we got through them. Are you doing all your work on time? You should. You don’t want to get too far behind. Are your grades good? We need to focus more. Maybe try using an agenda; it’s not that hard to use and it will help out a lot. Have you met anyone cute? There were some cute people we met in 2020. Maybe you’ll find “the one” this year, ha! How are our friends from First Coast? Are we still friends with them? It’s been a while since we’ve seen them face to face. Do they still look the same, or have they changed?
Are you still in your little shell? It’s time to open up and see the world for the beauty it is! Speaking of the world, are there still anti-maskers? They’re crazy. Hopefully one day they’ll see the irreparable damage they’ve caused by not wearing a mask. So many have fallen victim to the disease. It’s sad, really. Has Luke left for college, or is he taking time off? Has he softened up, or is he still a butthead? More importantly, how’s Peanut? Remember when we first got him, and he was so small? I wish he could shrink back down to baby size again! He’s so adorable! Do you still fangirl over Hisoka? I mean he is very attractive, and who doesn’t like a good magician?! He invented Bungee Gum, which has the properties of rubber and gum! He’s so cool!
Have any other cool anime come out? Is A Silent Voice still your favorite? There’s so much to unpack about that movie! The way they fell in love with each other was so romantic! Maybe we’ll find something as romantic as that. Have you watched My Hero Academia yet? Everyone has been telling you to watch it, so you probably should in your free time. Well I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you!
9th grade, Creative Writing
I think everyone can agree that 2020 hasn’t been our best year. I remember telling myself on Jan. 1st, “2020 is going to be my year!” Well, look at us now. We’re living in a worldwide pandemic, masks are everywhere and this school year has been rough so far. But this year is almost over—2021 is around the corner and we’re all hoping that it’s a better year for everything. I hope that in 2021, good things come out of it. Hopefully by then, COVID-19 vaccines will be given to most people, so we can begin the slow process of returning to our normal lives. We can start going out with people that we probably haven’t seen since March, and as a person whose family members all live in different countries, be able to travel and see them again. A lot of things have been taken away from us this year, but we have a whole year ahead of us to do the things we couldn’t do in 2020. Personally, I’m somewhat looking forward to this new year. I only have a year and a half left till I graduate, and Aug. 2021 will mark the beginning of my senior year. I’m not going to lie, my motivation towards school has been stripped away, especially with the introduction to online school. I’ve had to push through that lack of motivation this whole year—which hasn’t been the easiest thing ever, but I have managed to keep up my grades and with this new year, I hope to keep working hard in school and finish junior year off strong. With all the negative that have occurred this year, we need to have a positive look at the New Year. It will be a year for change and reconstruction. As much as I hope good things happen to me in 2021, I hope that it’s a better year for everyone. These past 12 months have been long and exhausting, but we’re almost done. So, I’m ending this letter off by saying, “2021 will be OUR year!” See you soon 2021.
11th grade, Orchestra
You have no idea how I have dreamed of you arriving after this unusually long year. As we all know, 2020 was an extremely challenging year to say the least. People have struggled, learned, grown and sadly, passed away. But for those of us still here today, know that 2021 represents hope. My experience throughout 2020 has been filled with highs and lows. It started so great for me, enjoying an amazing trip exploring Boston. We had the best weather. Mild. We even saw snow before we left. It was the best ending to our winter break and I had so much promise for the second half of the school year. Yet that promise was short lived and in two short months what seemed to be a momentous year quickly reared its ugly head! One of the most challenging aspects of it all for me was school. At first, the thought of having an extra long spring break sounded like a dream come true. But instead it quickly turned into our worst nightmares. The adjustment back in March from a “normal life” to all virtual homeschool had a major impact on me. It made it so hard for me to find motivation for my schoolwork and my grades started reflecting that discouragement. I just felt like a robot most of the time. I didn’t enjoy the limitations this whole situation presented for my craft. As a Technical Theatre major, hands on learning is essential. I lost interest in just doing the same thing, every day, in every class. Project work. “Busy work” is all it seemed to be. Without the flexibility of me being able to balance my arts, academics, and home life, I felt like I lost my motivation. However, as the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” It sounds a little cliché, but we’ve learned to survive in all the chaos. That is what has pushed me to where I am today. But even with this tough year in our past, I’m looking to you, 2021, to be the light in our dark tunnel. I realize that on January 1st this pandemic and all the issues we had in 2020 are not going to magically disappear. My wish is that 2021 brings us the hope that we need to have a chance of moving beyond this, pushing us towards normalcy. One thing that is sparking this wishful thinking is our theatre department having the green light to start shows again in the spring. To me, this means I can look forward to intentional tech work and being able to continue to train appropriately by having a hands on experience with shows again, and not just learning by projects. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of experience with my tech training so this is a positive change of pace to look forward to. I’m counting on you 2021!
10th grade, Technical Theatre
When I look at the year 2020 as a whole, the best words I can think of to describe it at surface level are inconvenient and unexpected. No one expected half the things which turned to become our reality and impacted us all in many different ways. However, by taking a step back to analyze the environment we are slowly becoming accustomed to, there are hidden takeaways we can find in the crevices that we tend to overlook. I personally have found myself constantly focused on the negativity all around me because honestly, it’s just that much easier to see in the current state of things. One of the things I miss most, and constantly find myself lacking in lately, is routine. Although procrastination has been one of my most valuable motivators in high school, I have found the day to day routines I’ve kept up have slipped through my fingers along with the sands of time, and the procrastination technique I had mastered no longer works the way it used to. However, while I was caught up in the difficulties laid upon us as students, for a time I completely overlooked the strain placed upon the teachers, who spend countless hours not only grading the work we do but also constructing the assignments we have to complete in accordance to the pace we as students are capable of doing them. In a time where leadership is so incredibly valuable, we hardly see the tremendous leadership and initiative from teachers right in front of us despite our interactions on a day to day basis. In addition to the abundant hours sacrificed for us I’ve found that the teachers at DA especially will treat their students with the love a parent would have towards their own children. The teachers here go above and beyond the explicit guidelines in their contracts all because they think of their students over themselves. These humble leaders shroud themselves in humility to the point where we hardly give a second thought to them as a result of the blinding selfishness we are surrounded by, so caught up with our own problems. Although 2021 is right around the corner, there will most likely not be an immediate change to the state of things just because a new year is dawning. I’m not saying sit back and get comfortable, because as my dad says, “this too shall pass,” I’m just saying we don’t know what is to come quite yet, so try to stop and smell the roses from time to time between each and every stretch of the way.
12th grade, Vocal
I think everyone can say 2020 has been a crazy year. From school abruptly closing and all of us switching online, to the toilet paper shortage, protesting for equality, multiple hurricanes, adjusting to the new face coverings and wearing them everywhere we go. Not to say I am complaining, but we have all had to do some major adjusting to this to keep up with the latest world events that 2020 has thrown at us. It is crazy to think all of this has happened in one year, so my hopes for 2021 is a resting year. I think we all deserve that. A nice calm year that isn’t packed with shocking international news. A year we can re-join with our families and friends. People keep saying they hate the year 2020 and they wish it was over, but I think this year has taught us a lot and shown us the things we take for granted. Like giving someone a hug, going somewhere to hanging out with friends, a normal Thanksgiving dinner with all your family, school performances and more. We are all learning new adjustments, 2020 was the year of learning and growth. With the New Year coming up, we can make it a fresh start and take all the previous knowledge we have learned from 2020 and grow from it. Have peace and unity between each other. It’s funny because even though 2020 has been all about social distancing I feel we have been getting closer. Because we are learning to connect in new different ways we would’ve never imagined. I feel 2021 will be a year of healing and hopefully reconnecting I know we all hope for coronavirus to come to an end, I am glad people have been patient and adjusting well. 2020 really came out of the blue with all of its surprises but it has taught us to think outside the box. So, let’s all hope 2021 will be our year. I feel 2021 will be the rainbow after the storm.
11th grade, Band